All talk and no action

by workshyscrounger

Salford council, where obesity rates among final-year students hit 23%, is considering a ban on chippies selling hot food until after 5pm if they are located within 400 metres of a school, Guardian reports.

It always gives me a funny feeling when the authorities pick on one element of a problem and insist that they can offer us a wholesome solution. The problem is more complex than that:

– fruit and veg prices are exorbitant – yes you can get value veg and it is absolutely tasteless. Value range does not include “luxuries” like celery, courgettes or spinach. You are basically reduced to subsisting on potatoes, carrots, onions and mushies.

– processed veg is much cheaper – a pound of potatoes works out more expensive than a pound of oven chips.

– celebrity chefs do not help. Jamie, despite his school meals campaign, has recipes that are expensive and high in calories. I struggled to find a recipe in his 15-minute meals that would cost less than £10 (with shopping around) for four portions. Give me any meat and I, too, will create a masterpiece. Unfortunately, our diet is mainly vegetarian due to money constraints. We cannot afford posh veg either (see point one). Basically, we eat red pasta, white pasta, rice with veg and rice with beans. Exciting stuff. Sometimes we splash out and have steamed veg.

Back to the story: the kids will just get their chip-fix from the school cafeteria or home dinner. It’s not fat or sugar that makes us fat. It’s our choices. Nobody thinks that horse burgers and chips are a healthy option. A generous helping of peas notwithstanding. Our choices are largely dictated by our financial situation and no amount of campaigns is going to change that. The lack of money makes obesity more common among the poor. Trying to deny it is like insisting that Ethiopians are actually anorexic and their problems have nothing to do with lack of food.